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10 Ways to Address Concussions in Soccer

Here is 10 ideas to address the ever increasing concussion rates in soccer.   

1. Change the clock.  By having a stopped clock, it will allow for more time for on-field evaluation.  Medical professionals will no longer be rushed to evaluate injuries.

2. Change substitution rule.  With the archaic rule of 3 substitutions, players are even more likely to withhold info and coaches are more likely to wait to make a sub.

3. Allow for a player to be substituted for a head evaluation without counting towards the substitution limit.

4. Limit the goalkeepers to the 6 yard box at least with the hands.   The farther they come from goal the higher the speed of the collision.

5. Call fouls on goalkeepers.  Too often GKs are given a free pass to hammer opponents in the box.  If a GK comes out to punch a ball, misses, and hits an opponent a penalty should be called. 

6. Call fouls when players elevate their arms above shoulder level.    This has to be consistently done by referees.  There is no need for a players arm to be above the head.  

7. Teach kids how to jump straight up and arms at side.   Grass root teaching programs in 3rd world countries have shown drops in head injury rates using this methodology.

8 Research headgear.   10 years ago, headgear made its debut.  To this day, there is a lack of consensus on the effectiveness of headgear.  Invest in research and determine whether it helps or not.

9. Change the ball.  20 years ago the ball was made of leather.  Today’s ball is made of synthetic materials and the bladder has changed.  The ball is designed to move more and faster in the hopes of increasing scoring.   This also effects how the forces disperse when the ball hits the head.   Change the pressure that the ball is inflated too.

10. Add neck strengthening to the FIFA 11 warm up.   The FIFA warmup is designed to limit injuries, why not include the brain.  Neck strength has been consistently shown to be a factor in concussion rates. 

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